Baby Ayden Niemela arrives first in 2013

In the wee hours arrived a big baby, the first of 2013.

At 4:37 a.m. on Jan. 1, Ayden Tyler Niemela was born to Hailey Niemela of Bingen at Providence Hood River Memorial, making the 10-pound, 12-ounce tyke the First Baby of the Year at Providence.

Four hours later, and four pounds lighter, came June Tillinghast, at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 20 inches long, at 8:11 a.m., born to Tova and Richard Tillinghast of Snowden, Wash. June joins a brother, Che, 6.

Ayden was due on Dec. 29, Hailey said, adding that she woke up at 4 a.m. on Dec. 31 and immediately knew baby was on his way. At 22 inches long, Ayden was born 24½ hours later.

“I think it’s amazing, honestly, because my grandma kept telling me, ‘It’s going to be a New Year’s baby,’ and I said, ‘Grandma, he’s not going to be a New Year’s Baby, he’s so big already, and I doubt it.’ And, well, I guess he was!”

Dotty Niemela, Hailey’s grandmother, said, “As soon as we found out, we said, ‘That’s alright: 12:01 New Year’s Day.’ Well, 4:37 is close enough!”

Hailey’s mother, Traci Latta, calls her grandson “the famous 10-pounder.”

“I’m proud to be a mommy,” Hailey said. “I’m only 16 and I delivered this ... elephant! Apparently it’s been a while since they’ve (Providence) delivered a baby this big.”

Ayden’s middle name honors his Uncle Tyler, 12, Hailey’s younger brother. Art Niemela is great-grandfather, “a long line of born and raised in White Salmon,” Dotty said. Other family members include stepfather Doug Latta and stepsister Alexis Latta.

The Providence maternity staff also assisted in a birth at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

“We were kind of thinking it might be the first baby of the New Year, and that would be so funny,” Richard Tillinghast said.

“It’s beautiful and wonderful, and very exciting the start of a new chapter, a new era,” Tova said of being the mother of a New Year’s baby.

Richard, who writes and performs music in the Gorge with the group One Hum, said Che is a singer as well.

“We have a new CD coming out and he sings on it,” and mom sings and plays cello. “We play music together quite a bit.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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